Kansas State has been one of the most consistent programs in college football for the better part of 25 years. There’s no reason that trend won’t continue in 2018.
The Wildcats lost both their coordinators from 2017, but somehow managed to stay consistent. Three of their four most recent coordinator hires were internal, while co-defensive coordinator Brian Norwood is a Big 12 veteran. In fact, seven of the 10 assistants on staff played at Kansas State. There’s no program like it.
However, Kansas State does lose plenty of talent on defense. The Wildcats return just 52 percent of their defensive production, per SB Nation. Six starters either graduated or left for the NFL. Star wide receiver Byron Pringle also left for the NFL draft.
However, people still trust the Kansas State machine. Considering Bill Snyder’s success over the years, it’s easy to see why.
USA Today’s Paul Myerberg ranked Kansas State No. 26 in his post-spring rankings. That’s ahead of Texas and within striking distance of Oklahoma State, Iowa State and West Virginia. Keep in mind, the Wildcats have won an average of eight games per year since Snyder returned.
The Big 12 is expected to stake a step back in 2018. Most of the conference’s teams are replacing quarterbacks or rebuilding in some capacity. That could give the Wildcats a leg up in the Big 12 race.
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Much of the 2018 season will come down to what happens behind center. Sophomore Skylar Thompson and junior Alex Delton are fighting for the starting job. Kansas State considers the two to be dead even.
Delton flashed elite running ability last season, while Thompson showed a strong arm. Both provide different looks, but only one can start. Kansas State will wait to make a decision until the week of the opener.
Kansas State lost several of its best players from last season. Pringle and defensive back D.J. Reed both left for the draft early. Wide receiver Dominique Heath, fullback Winston Dimel and quarterback Jesse Ertz also are gone.
The Wildcats replace talent better than most, but these are some experienced losses. It’s hard for any program to not take a step back after that. It doesn’t help that the Wildcats play Mississippi State in the nonconference slate. Games against West Virginia, Texas and Baylor early also could expose holes.
Snyder turns 79 years old during the 2018 season. The Wildcats have to start developing a backup plan for when he’s ready to step down.
Granted, it’s no secret that Snyder wants his son, Sean, to take over his beloved Wildcats. Kansas State brass has been resistant. This battle will continue until Bill Snyder leaves the program. It’s a fight that assuredly will linger throughout the offseason.